"Reuse tree chips as mulch, or donate them to a tree recycler."
Choosing to recycle your tree after Christmas is over has become a new holiday tradition, and it's no wonder. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 20 million Christmas trees are cut each year. When you recycle, not only are you being eco-conscious but you can also reuse the tree chips as mulch to benefit your garden or landscape, or donate it to a tree recycler.
Choose a real tree
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, there are many benefits to choosing the real deal over a fake tree.
- There are 350 million Christmas trees currently growing across the United States, while 80 percent of the artificial trees sold worldwide are imported from China, which negatively impacts the environment through increased transportation fuel and pollution.
- Real trees can be recycled. Artificial trees contain plastic and toxins such as lead that can't be recycled.
- In the U.S., the Christmas-tree industry employs more than 100,000 people.
- Real Christmas trees are a renewable resource. Each spring 1-3 seedlings are planted for every tree that has been harvested.
Ways to recycle your tree
- If you buy a potted tree, you can transplant it after the holiday season to add to your home's curb appeal. For step-by-step instructions, read How to Plant a Tree.
- You can also place a cut tree in your backyard to provide winter shelter for birds and other wildlife; just make sure it's carefully secured using a tree stand. To offer a food source, smear peanut butter and seeds in pinecones and tie them to individual branches.
- Chop up your Christmas tree to use as firewood next season. To prevent rot, pile it on a raised rack and cover it with a tarp if outdoors.
- Use a chipper to get a supply of mulch you can use around your landscape or add the chips to your compost pile.
- Add branches to floral arrangements, including flower pots, wreaths and garlands, or consider using needles for pine-scented potpourri.
- Cut branches and boughs to put on the ground to help control soil erosion.
- If you don't have a recycling use for your tree, consider donating it so it can be turned into mulch, compost or fireplace logs, which are often offered free in the community.
- The state of Georgia's annual Christmas tree recycling program is sponsored by The Home Depot. Together, we've recycled over 4.8 million trees and made a difference in local communities by donating mulch to playgrounds, beautification projects and local gardens. To find details about recycling trees in your region, visit earth911.com.
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